GE’s innovative technologies make power more affordable, reliable, accessible and sustainable
KUWAIT: As demand for power continues to grow significantly in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region – up to double the global growth levels in some countries – GE (General Electric) is pushing the frontiers of efficiency in power generation with its latest heavy-duty HA-Class turbine and 9EMax upgrade. The energy powerhouse is transforming the industry with advanced software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive in order to meet the requirements of a growing population and infrastructure development.
The World Energy Council estimates that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will require 100 gigawatts (GW) of additional power over the next ten years, marking an investment of over $50 billion in new power generating capacity. “Across the region, demand for power is increasing at an average annual rate of 8 percent. Governments and power producers need more efficient, flexible and reliable technologies which not only boost generation capacity but also focus on the sustainable use of resources. This is where GE comes in,” Abdurrahman Khalidi, the Chief Technology Officer of GE Power for the Middle East & Africa said.
“GE is organized around a global exchange of knowledge, through which each establishment shares and accesses the same technology, markets, structure and intellect. Each invention further fuels innovation and application across our industrial sectors. With people, services and technology, GE delivers better results for customers. GE, which has been present in MENA for over 80 years, is transforming the power sector by ushering in the next era in power generation technology and supporting over half of the power generation in the region,” Abdurrahman explained.
Led by its focus on digital industrial technologies that bring unprecedented levels of efficiency and productivity, GE is supporting its customers in reimagining the future of the power sector. In this, the energy giant also draws on the enormous potential offered by the ‘GE Store’ – a bustling marketplace of ideas, applications and technology solutions, shared across industries to improve customer outcomes. This is underscored by the launch of GE’s H-Class 9HA gas turbine, the world’s largest and most efficient heavy duty gas turbine.
GE has also launched its game changing 9EMax gas turbine upgrade for GE 9E units, which delivers more output and efficiency while helping to reduce operating costs. The 9EMax is of special significance to GE’s 9E customers in the Middle East and Africa, where extreme heat conditions can create operational challenges. Over 300 of GE’s 9E turbines are in operation in the region, delivering more than 37 GW of power. Irrespective of their age, the 9EMax upgrade ensures that the gas turbines remain efficient, flexible and reliable.
“General Electric is driving the digital industrial transformation of the power sector in the region through advanced technologies that enable our partners to achieve unprecedented levels of efficiency and productivity. The H-class gas turbine and the new 9EMax upgrade are especially suited for the MENAT (Middle East and North Africa and Turkey) region, where plant operators are increasingly focused on efficiency, flexibility and asset use optimization,” Joseph Anis, President & CEO of GE’s Power Services business in the Middle East & Africa said.
“9EMax can operate at partial loads, making it ideal for power producers looking to add renewables to their energy mix. It also includes an array of digital solutions to boost operational reliability, improve combustion operations and manage emissions. In addition, the software solutions help offset degradation between maintenance intervals and operating challenges on hot days,” Robert Colwell Senior Product Manager, Gas Turbine Technology Power Services explained.
The 9EMax upgrade has completed initial validation testing at a utility plant in Asia and is commercially available for 9E gas turbine customers around the world. 9EMax, part of GE’s Fleet360 platform of total plant solutions, was developed utilizing GE’s deep domain experience from its global 9E fleet of more than 700 units and with insights from more than 30 million hours of operating data from its installed base.
The combination of this data and expertise along with GE’s FastWorks solution development methodology helped ensure 9EMax was designed with customer needs in mind. It resets the operating clock to zero on critical 9E assets that are facing the end of their design life. For younger units, it represents a new alternative to flange-to-flange (F2F) replacements, boosting efficiency by about 4 percentage points and output up to 143 MW with respect to the previous 9E.03 turbine module. With extended maintenance intervals and higher reliability, 9EMax is a cost-effective solution for game changing operational efficiency.
“9EMax Gas Turbine Solution delivers a game-changing performance leap through a new 4-stage turbine module design that can be installed within the 9E’s existing footprint. It can help 9E turbine users to cut annual fuel costs by as much as $5 million, while creating the potential for up to $6 million in additional revenue. It also extends the maintenance intervals by delivering up to 32,000 hours or 900 starts maintenance intervals – equivalent to about four years of typical continuous plant operations,” Colwell explained.
The validation test monitored and mapped the unit’s behavior at typical operating parameters. During these tests, over 1,000 pieces of instrumentations were used to collect data and improve the performance of the machine. These sensors collected over 14 terabytes of data to highlight some of the 9EMax’s capabilities: the validation test found that the 9EMax upgrade can increase turbine output up to 143 megawatts (MW) in simple-cycle operation and up to 210 MW in a combined-cycle configuration; it can also achieve up to 37 percent efficiency in simple cycle and up to 53.5 per cent efficiency in combined-cycle configuration.
GE has supported the development of MENAT for over 80 years. It is committed to the region’s progress and prosperity through its waves of change and growth, strengthening the digital industrial ecosystem in the country. The company has a presence in 24 countries across MENAT, with more than 9,000 employees, serving over 3,000 customers. For more than 40 years, GE has been supporting Kuwait’s infrastructural development needs through public and private partnerships.
The 9HA is the result of a $2 billion investment by GE Power. It offers more than 63 percent combined cycle efficiency, leading to the remarkably cost-effective conversion of fuel to electricity to help meet increasingly dynamic power demands. This world record-setting efficiency is delivered with the help of GE’s Digital Power Plant capabilities, which help to unlock power that had previously been inaccessible. Capabilities, including the digital control system, use real-time data to deliver better plant outcomes with stable and efficient operations, while providing valuable predictive insights for higher reliability and optimization. The 9HA is a great example of the GE Store at work, as it is comprised of advanced technologies developed across the GE portfolio. Including a simplified air-cooled architecture, advanced materials, and proven operability and reliability, GE’s 9HA units deliver exceptionally low life cycle costs per megawatt.
The economies of scale created by this high-power density gas turbine are unprecedented. Moreover, the turbine offers industry-leading flexibility. It allows customers to maintain stable power production and to reliably accommodate grid variations through quick start up, rapid load changes and other features. It can go from start to full load in less than 30 minutes. This enables the HA to deliver reliable and flexible operations not just for large power plants and utilities but also for captive power plants or small grids. It also enables the greater use of renewable energy by enabling quick responses to fluctuations in grid demand and weather changes.
GE’s 9HA also accommodates both gas and liquid fuels with wide gas variability including high ethane and liquefied natural gas (LNG). Its fuel flexibility is an ideal fit for the region. With two 50Hz models available (the 9HA.01 unit at 429 MW and the 9HA.02 unit at 519 MW), power plant operators can choose the gas turbine that best fits their needs. Manufactured at GE’s Belfort Power Generation Center of Excellence, the technology recently helped set a record for powering the world’s most efficient combined-cycle power plant based on an achieved efficiency rate of up to 62.22 percent at EDF’s Bouchain plant in France. The Bouchain plant, which officially began operations on June 17, 2016, is also the world’s first combined-cycle plant equipped with GE’s HA turbine.
The Belfort center is the only producer of medium- and high-power gas turbines in France, and is a global center of excellence for 50 hertz gas turbines. An investment of over $200 million by GE, it has more than 4,000 employees, including 1,800 experts capable of developing advanced simple or combined cycle power plants for customers all over the world. In 1959, Belfort manufactured the first GE-licensed gas turbine. More than 1,800 gas turbine units have been manufactured at the facility to date. In May 2015, GE’s record breaking 9HA gas turbine was officially launched at Belfort, where the first unit was built for the EDF Bouchain power plant.
In addition to having commenced operations in Bouchain, GE’s HA turbine is being actively sought out by power plant operators in the MENA and Pakistan region. For example, Aluminum Bahrain (Alba) has placed an order for three GE HA gas turbines to power the world’s largest single-site smelter. In further localization capabilities, the GE Manufacturing & Technology Center in Dammam now has expanded competencies to locally manufacture the H-class heavy duty turbines.
GE in Kuwait
Since the early 1970’s, GE has been a strong partner to Kuwait’s public and private sectors – supporting Kuwait’s infrastructural needs in the aviation, power, water, oil and gas industries. As a committed partner, GE supports the government in achieving Kuwait’s Vision 2035 by offering innovative technological solutions that meet the country’s vision and strategy to drive growth. With more than 200 employees based in country, GE is a dedicated partner, in Kuwait, for Kuwait.
GE’s Technology Center in Kuwait houses a large generator – lighting up homes and fueling minds. In one part of this multifaceted, multi-specialty technology center, GE Power uses the power plant equipment to provide advanced, hands-on training and maintenance practice to power plant engineers from Kuwait and the wider region.
In another section of this unique, state-of-the-art facility, GE experts deliver a wide range of technical training programs, using computer simulators and testing labs to improve understanding of power generation operations and troubleshooting methodologies, reflecting the company’s strategic commitment to developing the skills and capabilities of Kuwaiti students and professionals. GE is providing key technology to a record-breaking expansion of the Sulaibiya Wastewater Treatment and Reclamation Plant – which is the largest-of-its-kind membrane technology facility in the world.
Powering over 35%
Through its collaboration with the Ministry of Electricity and Water, GE powers 37% of Kuwait’s electricity by supplying its advanced gas turbines to six different power plants across the country. With an expected increase of 10 gigawatts of electricity demand by 2022, GE will continue to support the government’s efforts to meet the country’s growing energy needs. lighting up Kuwait efficiently.
In order to drive the overall efficiency of the Sabiya CCGT Power Station, powered by 6 9FA gas turbines, Sabiya recently completed the purchase of 220 LED lamps to provide an energy-efficient solution for the compartment lighting project. This solution contributes to the reduction of carbon emissions and maintenance costs as well as improves visibility and safety for station employees working in low light conditions. As a pioneer in LED technology, GE Lighting is bringing the latest in lighting solutions to Kuwait that will enhance operational and energy efficiency and reduce emissions, thus meeting the sustainability vision of Kuwait.
Some of GE’s latest technologies will equip specialized Kuwaiti facilities such as the new imaging department of the 150-bed Sabah Al Ahmad Cardiac Center which will open in 2017. It will include GE’s Revolution GSI, one of the latest CT technologies designed especially for high quality imaging of the heart, helping to cater for the increased prevalence of cardiac disease in Kuwait. Revolution GSI images allow healthcare professionals to make more confident decisions and may help to prevent more expensive invasive procedures, particularly for cardiac patients with high or irregular heart rates.
GE Healthcare will also provide integrated oncology solutions for a new wing of the Kuwait Cancer Control Hospital (KCCC), the third biggest oncology center in the world, with 650 beds, due to open in 2017. This will include the Discovery PET/CT 710, a hybrid imaging system which combines PET, used to record molecular activity which is indicative of rapid tumor growth, with CT which focuses on anatomic location or the physical size of a tumor. Today over 800 GE Healthcare products and technologies are deployed in hospitals and clinics across Kuwait.
Connecting Kuwait to the world
Today, GE and partnership engines move more than 1.8 million passengers through Kuwait each year. With more than 210 engines powering more than half of the country’s total fleet, every 30 minutes sees a GE-powered airplane takeoff into the skies of Kuwait.
About GE Power
GE Power is a world leader in power generation with deep domain expertise to help customers deliver electricity from a wide spectrum of fuel sources. The energy powerhouse transforms the electricity industry with digital power plant, the world’s largest and most efficient gas turbine, full balance of plant, upgrade and service solutions as well as our data-leveraging software. Its innovative technologies and digital offerings help make power more affordable, reliable, accessible and sustainable.
By Chidi Emmanuel